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Coordinated social interaction belongs to our everyday life whenever individuals align their behavior with each other in time and space. A substantial part of social interaction and collective behavior consists in synchronized goal-directed actions involving two or more individuals. These actions are ...

Coordinated social interaction belongs to our everyday life whenever individuals align their behavior with each other in time and space. A substantial part of social interaction and collective behavior consists in synchronized goal-directed actions involving two or more individuals. These actions are regulated by various factors that work together calibrated by appropriate coupling mechanisms within and between individuals and their brains. Hyperscanning studies (simultaneous signal recording from multiple individuals) has shown that synchronization within and between brains as well as within and between physiological systems and subsystems (e.g., respiratory, cardiac systems, body movements, etc.) plays a crucial role for social interaction phenomena. They can be described most effectively in terms of the cooperation of several parts of the system or subsystems. Emerging complex network dynamics and its topology represent an imprint of such complex systems’ behavior and have been outlined in several studies by means of a graph-theoretical approach. There has been an important growth in publications on inter-brain or hyper-brain connectivity and network dynamics over the last 20 years. However, a certain knowledge gap remains between behavioral and neural (and also other physiological and physical) representations or features and it requires further intensive research.

The purpose of this special issue is to bring together various interdisciplinary researchers and research groups to explore the mechanisms and functions of interpersonal interaction and to deepen our understanding of these highly interesting and complex phenomena and the downstream effects they may have on real-life social interaction.

We encourage empirical and theoretical submissions from cognitive, computational, clinical, social, and system neuroscience, psychology, musicology, and other areas or disciplines. Papers addressing these specific themes are of special interest:
• Goal-directed behavior and social interaction from a systemic point of view
• Intra- and inter-brain synchrony as a neural correlate of interpersonal action coordination
• Network structure and network topology dynamics as an established tool and concept of system interaction
• Physiological and neural control of respiratory, cardiac, locomotor, and other rhythms emerging during social and complex system interactions
• Collective behavior, group interaction, and the concept of the superorganism in animals and humans
Questions that were posed included:
• Does the inter-brain synchronization describe interpersonal or social interaction or is it only a result of shared perceptual input and/or equal motor output?
• Is the inter-brain synchronization important for understanding the nature of human consciousness?
• Does the hyper-brain and/or multi-physiological network function as a superordinate system or superorganism?

Keywords: Interpersonal action coordination; hyperscanning; intra- and inter-brain synchronization; network topology and network dynamics; graph-theoretical approach; functional connectivity; group interaction.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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